Carmelo Abela defends use of public funds for personal advertising

The minister said that it is his duty to communicate information on his ministerial work to the public

Carmelo Abela has come out in defence of his choice to use ministerial funding to finance a personal advertisement on a local newspaper.

Reacting to a report by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life George Hyzler, Abela said that one of his obligations as a government minister is to communicate his ministerial work to the public.

Bħala Ministru tal-Gvern jien obbligat li nuri l-ħidma Ministerjali tiegħi, ix-xogħol li nkun qed inwettaq kif ukoll...

Posted by Carmelo Abela on Friday, April 16, 2021

"Until today there are no guidelines on how this can or cannot take place"

Published on Wednesday, the report found that Abela's advert constituted a breach in ethical standards. It is currently under discussion within the parliamentary committee concerning public standards.

"With respect towards the Office for the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life and to the Parliamentary Process, I will wait for the conclusions of the parliamentary committee before I make further declarations on this case."

The report is based on a complaint by the NGO Repubblika, and concerns an allocation of public funds within the Ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister, headed by Abela, for an alleged political advertising campaign in print media.

In his report, the Commissioner concludes that the advert was "clearly intended to boost the image of Minister Carmelo Abela rather than provide any information of value to the general public, given the prominence of the photograph and the absence of informative content on the work of the ministry".

Repubblika and the Standards Commissioner suggested that Abela should refund the €7,012.98 spent on the advertising campaign.